Children of 11 to be fingerprinted


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xd9fan
March 4, 2007, 11:09 AM
From The Sunday Times
March 04, 2007
Children of 11 to be fingerprinted
David Leppard

CHILDREN aged 11 to 16 are to have their fingerprints taken and stored on a secret database, internal Whitehall documents reveal.

The leaked Home Office plans show that the mass fingerprinting will start in 2010, with a batch of 295,000 youngsters who apply for passports.

The Home Office expects 545,000 children aged 11 and over to have their prints taken in 2011, with the figure settling at an annual 495,000 from 2014. Their fingerprints will be held on a database also used by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate to store the fingerprints of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers.

The plans are outlined in a series of “restricted” documents circulating among officials in the Identity and Passport Service. They form part of the programme for the introduction of new biometric passports and ID cards.

Opposition politicians and privacy campaigners warn that the plans show ministers are turning Britain into a “surveillance society”.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: “This borders on the sinister and it shows the government is trying to end the presumption of innocence. With the fingerprinting of all our children, this government is clearly determined to enforce major changes in the relationship between the citizen and the state in a way never seen before.”

Under the new passport and ID scheme, everyone over 16 who applies for a passport will have their details — including fingerprints and eye or facial scans — added to the National Identity Register from next year.

From October 2009, ID cards will be issued alongside new passports. Initially these will not be mandatory, but Tony Blair has said that if Labour is reelected it will make them compulsory, a process that the documents predict will take just over a decade.

Children under 16 will not be part of the ID card scheme. But the documents show that from 2010 they will still have to be fingerprinted for a new passport.

The prints will initially be stored on the directorate’s database. Once children reach 16 their fingerprints and other personal information will be passed for storage on the register, along with those of nearly 50m adults.

Children applying for passports will have to travel up to 80 miles to special Home Office screening centres to have their fingerprints taken.

The leaked plans envisage 90 new enrolment centres for the ID card scheme on top of the existing network of passport offices. They estimate that it will cost £528m over 10 years in travel costs for the 5.75m people expected to apply for a new passport each year.

The documents also spell out how the cost of passports is set to rise again this year. They say that unless the Home Office can get extra funding for the scheme, the cost of an adult passport will rise by £10 to £76 this October.

The cost will have risen by 81% since December 2005 when it increased from £42 to £51. Last October the price rose again to £66. When Labour came to power in 1997 a passport cost £18.

The plans show that the price of a child’s passport is to rise even more sharply, to £58 from the present £45. The price will have more than doubled in less than two years, rising in stages from £25 to £34 in December 2005 and to £45 last October.

Critics described the plans as a stealth tax on holidaymakers to pay for the controversial ID cards scheme. Ministers have already conceded that the cost of the new combined ID card and passport will be £93 from 2009, but the documents show that price could rise to £109 at to-day’s prices.

A range of further “stealth charges” will also be imposed, according to the documents. Women who change their names if they get married will have to pay £36; a further £27 will be charged to replace a lost or stolen ID card; £26 to replace a damaged card; and £6 for a change of address or personal ID number.

The documents show that ID cards will not be made compulsory for more than a decade, under present plans. “Compulsion will be triggered once 80% take-up is achieved in [the first quarter of] 2019,” they state. “It is assumed that, following compulsion, a 100% registration will be achieved two years later.”

The prime minister has hailed the ID cards scheme as the centrepiece of efforts to combat terrorism and illegal immigration, as well as identity theft and benefit fraud. But opponents dismiss it as a “Big Brother” scheme that is too expensive, poorly planned and unlikely to function efficiently.

Last year leaked e-mails from civil servants warned the scheme could be a “botched operation” that could delay the introduction of ID cards for a generation. The government says the scheme will cost £6 billion to implement. However, in 2005, the London School of Economics estimated it would cost £19 billion.

The Tories have pledged to scrap the scheme if they win the next election.

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The Deer Hunter
March 4, 2007, 11:11 AM
Sounds like another one of those, "Its not compulsive to be fingerprinted, you only have to have it done if you wish to anything" policies.

Duncan223
March 4, 2007, 11:49 AM
Clearly the reason for printing everybody, is to protect everybody from the criminals. Right?

After all, why bother rounding-up the criminals when you can round-up the honest citizens.

Prints are already on record for a number of reasons in the US, including military service, public service, jobs dealing with kids, security, concealed licenses, etc. Now we're going to be faced with biometric ID cards, RFID chips, optical scanners, DNA data banks, and more. All under the guise of "security".

You do know that there are "smart" phones, computers and other things that allow the owner to use a fingerprint scanner that prevents unwanted access. Sure, it is a useful tool if you have confidential information on it and you wish to keep that info secure. But, is this really an adequate security measure?

For example, the Toshiba "smart phone" is a Windows Mobile powered device. Microsoft's products have historically been big targets among illegal hacking due to their widespread use. Weaknesses exist in every security system and with enough work, exploits will be found to break them, or outright bypass them. Even though it's hard for someone to forge a fingerprint, the data on a stolen or lost phone may not be the ultimate "reward." A high-tech thief with the ability to bypass these security system is ultimately be rewarded with enough data to falsify a data stream to appear that it's coming from a secure fingerprint reader.

Fingerprint readers are not in heavy use... yet We are beginning to see them crop up in a variety of places. We accept safe deposit boxes as secure because the bank controls one key while we control the other. In the case of biometrics, while a person may control their finger, they ultimately do not control their fingerprints. Biometrics may sound like a great idea. However security is only as good as your lock. In this case, the key to accessing your information is your fingerprint. Add to this the fact that a credit card, PIN number, or password are relatively secure and known only to you, this information is still stolen by identity thieves. Right? Now imagine if the .gov develops the "fool proof" method of identification. What if your "print" was found at the scene of a crime? You are guilty - right?


The question that needs to be asked is - "security for whom?" Moreover, who will be in control of the info, and who will monitor those people? What kind of checks-n-balances are there for the tax payers funding the program? Too many variables, too many unanswered questions.

Kali Endgame
March 4, 2007, 12:15 PM
Every child born after 2020 will have a chip implanted in their body. For their own protection, of course. By then we will have the technology to track every single human on the planet and the Moon colony.

thexrayboy
March 4, 2007, 11:29 PM
Why stop with fingerprints. Retinal scans and involuntary relinquishment of DNA samples too. No information is too much for Big Brother to seek in the effort to effectively enslave the populace.

atek3
March 5, 2007, 02:34 PM
heck, in the UK, they take DNA swabs for basically anything...

cbsbyte
March 5, 2007, 04:11 PM
When I was growing up in the 1980s, every few years the State Police would offer free finger printing to parent for their childern at the regional High School. The reasoning was that if the child ever went missing the Police would already have the finger prints and other info on record to help ID the child if found. I am sure the informantion is still on record with the Mass State Police. Incase I ever get lost. :) I remember some other states, Like Conn, New York etc also use to do it.

Rumpled
March 6, 2007, 05:05 AM
I've seen the cops fingerprinting kids for safety in CA. But, the card is given t the parents, not kept by the cops.
At least they got that one little thing right.

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